Baby one more mime
I went to see Britney Spears in concert the other week. Well, I think I did. A blonde pranced about on a stage for a couple of hours as some of Britney’s CDs played in the background so I can only assume it was actually Miss Spears. I only went because I managed to get £5 tickets on the day so thought that anyone was worth seeing for a fiver and dragged along my other half to the O2 where the world’s most famous hick was holding court.
I’d heard that she was miming the entire set, which I find unacceptable in any live act. Had I paid full price for my ticket, I’d have lynched her and paraded her head on a stick past the endless chain restaurants that encircle the arena. I once paid- well, twice actually- a small fortune to see Madonna and was horrified at rumours she’d mimed some of it. When did that become OK? Anyway, we pitched up at the O2, arriving amid a flurry of bunny ears, tutus and cheap perfume, before taking our seats. I’d been misinformed at the time Britney would be on stage and so had to sit through the support acts. First on was R&B also-ran Ciara, who had boundless energy but was a little swamped in the middle of the huge, round stage and, sadly, did a minimum of singing over a thudding backing vocal. The girl next to me asked if I was excited about seeing Britney. I had to admit I wasn’t that bothered and had only come along for the cheap tickets. I’d meant it to be a kind of joke, but the girl- I say girl, she was in her mid-twenties- took considerable offence and switched seats, which caused me no end of amusement.
When Britney finally appeared on stage, the crowd went wild and while the show had plenty of spectacle and the music sounded good, she mimed the whole thing, which no doubt wasn’t a problem if you were stageside but those of us up in the Gods had difficulty connecting with her, knowing that she was twirling around to a tape. She occasionally ‘spoke’ to the audience but knowing her she probably lip-synched that too. It was a bit like watching one of those dolls with a string hanging out of her back that you pull to make it talk. I wonder who does hold Britney’s strings these days. She did her fair share of dancing, despite performing the first three songs being dragged in a shopping trolley, but to me live should mean live, and I almost felt sorry for the Britney maniacs who come back night after night, spending all their wages watching her move her mouth.
As usual, I drank too much and managed to piss off the two girls at the end of my row with my constant trips to the bar. The actual highlight of the concert wasn’t related to Britney at all. Four girls who’d got £5 tickets and were sitting near us were approached by a member of the production team to see if they wanted to sit in a better seat. They naturally agreed, and were shown to luxury couches at the very edge of the stage, where they would be nose to nipple with their idol. Absolutely free. Watching them whooping it up, screaming and generally losing their shit at their good fortune totally made my night and was much more compelling than the dead-eyed pop princess strutting her stuff.